First and foremost to all new parents may we welcome you to the community that is our school. Hopefully you are already discovering what a friendly lot we are! The following notes will, with any luck, answer any questions you may have about the PTFA and go some way to explain why we are here, what we do and how we can all do it together. Basically, life, the universe and everything…. So…
What is a PTFA?
You may have heard of a PTA, but a PTFA? PTFA stands stands for Parents, Teachers and Friends Association. The name was changed a number of years ago to reflect the support that we get from the local community.
Why have a PTFA
We are fortunate at this school to have a PTFA that has been an integral part of the school for a number of years. It has raised £1,000’s which has been spent on equipment, resources and school trips to enhance our children’s educational experience. This can be on a small scale providing skipping ropes for the playground to projects involving much larger amounts such as the purchase of i pads for year 6 or our contribution to the school MUGA (Multi Use Games Area).
But there is much more to the PTFA than just fundraising, it exists to provide closer links between home and school. Research shows that children do better and are happier when their parents are involved in their education. In addition to that it can be fun. It is a great way to meet and form friendships with other parents.
Role of the Committee
The PTFA at the moment consists of 4 elected officers the Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. Plus a fantastic group of volunteers who help to organise events, but also take responsibility for fundraising schemes such as Bags2school, The Giving Machine and various art projects which all add to the pot. We also have volunteers who take on positions such as newsletter editor and class representatives. We can all do our little bit to help.
Committee members meet on a regular basis usually once every half term. With smaller working groups meeting as necessary when organising events. At the beginning of each academic term an AGM (Annual General Meeting) is held. This is a great opportunity for all parents to come along and voice opinions and ideas, and hear in more detail about the work of the PTFA. It is also the occasion when we elect committee members.
All families are members of the PTFA when their child joins the school, and you are therefore welcome to join any meeting at any time.
How do we raise money?
Like most PTA’s the majority of our funds are raised through events. By necessity we do need fundraisers, but we do our best to make them fun. We run a mixture of adult and children socials such as ceilidhs, but also some adult only affairs for instance supper evenings, race nights and summer balls. We also have occasions where we are looking to include the wider community and general public to help us raise funds for instance the Curbar Christmas Cracker, the Curbar Art Show and the Curbar Commotion Fell Race.
When planning events we aim to be conscious of the ethos and diversity of the school, and try hard in our planning to reflect this. So not all events are run as large fundraisers, for example the summer BBQ social is run with the aim of thanking families for their support through the year.
We even get the children in on the act, with an annual sponsored run /walk depending on how hot it is on the day!!
One way that we can maximise the funds raised through donation or sponsorship is by Gift Aiding. The official terminology from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is that Gift Aid is a tax relief which allows a charity to reclaim from HMRC the basic rate of income tax a donor has paid on their donation (gift). Basically this means that those supporters who are current UK tax payers are eligible to Gift Aid their donations. This gives the PTFA an extra 25p for every £1 donated.
As a UK taxpayer when you make a donation to the PTFA (that is an outright gift, i.e no good/services received), you have already paid tax on that money. The PTFA through gift aid can claim that back. This means by asking our supporters for permission to reclaim the tax they have already paid we can increase the value of these donations by a massive 25%.
In order to do claim Gift Aid it is necessary for all eligible parents to confirm that they are UK tax payers, and sign a Gift Aid declaration form (2 attached) which we will keep on file. You will only have to complete the form once and this will provide cover for every gift made to the PTFA. Please all return completed forms to the school office f.a.o The PTFA Treasurer.
The Match Funding scheme is another way to further increase the funds we raise, where a little bit of your time could raise double the funds for the PTFA.
If you work for an organisation that has a match funding policy, any money you raise could be matched by your employer. Companies may match the fundraising total for an event, or for the stall that their employee is working on. Usually, the employee will need to supply them with a letter from the PTFA detailing the date and nature of the event, together with the total raised.
We understand that the high street banks, building societies, supermarkets and large corporations are likely to do match funding, but these schemes are not exclusive to the major corporate giants. If you work for an independent company, they may be interested in charitable giving through match funding too.
We would be grateful if you could see if your employer has a match funding scheme, or if they are willing to match fund any of our events. If you can’t help out this time, but you know the company you work for has a match funding policy, please let us know. This could be a really large source of income for the PTFA.
The Giving Machine
Over the last couple of years we have been exploring the possibilities of what are known in the trade as ‘armchair earners’ a good example of which is The Giving Machine. The Giving Machine is not for profit online funding website. Participating online shops (e.g. John Lewis, Debenhams, Amazon, Tesco, Sainsburys and many more), pay the Giving Machine a sales commission for directing shoppers to them. The Giving Machine then forwards these commissions as free cash donations to the shoppers chosen charity or school.
Basically you the shopper buy the same product, at the same price, on the same shopping website, the only difference is that by going via the Giving Machine website you generate free cash donations to the PTFA at no extra cost to you. What’s not to like! If you would like some more information or are interested in registering please have a look at their website www.thegivingmachine.co.uk.
How is the money spent?
Following a fundraising event the money is immediately banked. Usually the head teacher has a wish list of items that the school would like the PTFA to consider funding. Sometimes this is a result of pupil requests. At other timers it will be resources to improve a particular area of the curriculum.
Funds are spent on extras not provided by the school budget, a past example being phonic games purchases to make our children’s learning experience more fulfilling and exciting. Money is usually spent fairly quickly, that way you can be sure that in supporting your school your children will feel the benefit as well as everyone else.
How do we get information to you?
A PTFA newsletter is published a couple of times per year. It contains articles on what has been going on at the school, with contributions from both children and teachers. Forthcoming events are promoted, and funds raised from various events and other sources are detailed. Information is provided on where and how that money was spent providing the reassurance to all that our efforts are not wasted! This is also the place where we can take the opportunity to thank all those involved who may have donated prizes or their time and effort. The newsletter at present, not only goes to the families at the school but a further 600 copies are distributed to residences in Calver, Froggat and Curbar. Once registered with the PTFA the newsletter is also available by email. (Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in Parent Survey attached)
PTFA information is also posted on the school website and notice boards in the foyer and in front of school. If you are signed up to the school text messaging service you can also receive messages from the PTFA. Event posters come home in book bags or via email if you registered (Please contact email@example.com or fill in Parent Survey attached).
Event volunteer sheets are usually posted in the school foyer notice boards.
How to get involved
There are lots of ways to offer your help or support.
Offering to help before or during events is invaluable. It does not matter if you are able to offer help on a regular basis, or if you do not regularly come into school. Lots of jobs can be done from home in your own time, for example sourcing raffle prizes or looking into grant applications. Every bit counts.
You can also help by letting us know if you have any contacts or skills that we could use. Everything is potentially valuable.
Or you can help by simply coming along and having a good time at one of our events.
We look forward to seeing you there….
On behalf of the PTFA thank you for getting this far!
Sharon Chadwick (Chair)
Attached : 2 Gift Aid forms, Parent Survey